#2 Greek Islands, Sept. 14, 2012

Dear Everybody,

Sunday morning the wind was still blowing so I couldn’t see Delos, as planned. I did observe people going to church, and also observed that the angels pictured in the murals in a church resembled the ‘angels’ pictures on 7th C. BCE pottery!

People seemed to be recovering from a big Saturday night although some locals were having a beer on Sunday morning to start the day off. I walked down to the Old Port to see that the wind was unabating. A lovely lady graced the Old Port Plaza against the blue, blue sky. Later I met up with a pelican who may have been resting from the unremitting winds.

I decided to stay an extra two days on Mykonos so I could visit Delos on Tuesday, since it’s closed on Mondays. So on Monday morning I had my favorite breakfast of Greek yoghurt with honey and Greek coffee, (yes, the wind had died down some) and then I took a bus to Ano Mera again, to give the two monasteries there a better look. The Moni Panagias Tourlianis’ church was open, and I was able to see the 17th C. carved wooden iconostasis, which was sensational! Think of those craftsmen carrying out their plans when they made it so long ago!

A kindly-looking monk was on duty, greeting the tourists, and consenting to be photographed. The detail of that iconostasis was amazing, as well as the icons painted by 16th C. members of the Cretan school.

I walked quite a ways to also see the Moni Palaiokastro, the second monastery that my landlady mentioned. When I finally found it, two cars pulled up just as I arrived. The door had a sign on it that said, “Knock The Door,” which I did. Finally a young nun appeared and spoke in Greek to one of the new arrivals (tour leader?). She then shut the door with a thump, and the Greek explained to me that she doesn’t let ‘groups’ into the monastery. I asked him if he told her that I was alone, and he had, but no dice. So, if I’m not welcome, so be it. I walked back and got my bus back to town. Yes, seeing the Moni Panagias Tourlianis iconostasis was worth the trip!

Back in town I stopped at the supermarket and bought a bottle of wine, then stopped at Sakis and got a take-out gyro to take back to my room. The beautiful label on the wine bottle fooled me—the wine was kind of sweet—but what a beautiful label!

Tuesday was Delos Day, at last. I rode to the island in a rather large boat, which took 45 minutes.  The site was large and offered much to see. The oldest temples were from the 8th C. BCE—it reached its apex of Athenian power in about the 4th C. BCE. The Romans gave it another bump in 167 BCE, when they made it a free port where up to 10,000 slaves were sold per day, making it even more

powerful and rich.

Then began the decline, and by the 3rd C. AD, only a small band of poor Christians lived there.

There was a wonderful archeological museum where they had preserved many of the most artistic things. For example the Terrace of the Lions had plaster casts of the lions outside, while the real marble ones were in the museum. They had also preserved some of the mosaic floors, too.

After three hours I had pretty much seen everything and so bought a Greek Cookbook at the souvenir shop, which I perused while waiting for the boat back to Mykonos. It was still pretty windy on Delos—it must have been a gale-force wind on Sunday when we couldn’t go. Back on Mykonos, I had grilled octopus for lunch/dinner. It’s really quite good!

The following day I took the fast ferry to the island of Paros. It has quite a different ambience than Mykonos—it’s much more ‘down home Greek.’ I saw a man holding a sign for ‘Jimmy’s Rooms,’ which I had seen advertised on Hostelbookers, so I approached him, and after some bargaining, rented a private room for 50 euro, total for three nights. He drove me to the hostel, which, I was glad to see, had a nice group of friendly young people, many of which were here on their study abroad while in college. The hostel was very near a nice beach and also near some good-lookin’ eating spots. I had linner at one of these—there was a group of about 24 tourists eating there and eventually they began dancing a circle number, which they invited me to join which I did for a bit. The food was great, the wine was cheap and plentiful and the other eaters were friendly!

-The next day I explored the town, visiting the Panagia Ekatondapyliani, the Cathedral, which was really three churches, and the archeological museum.

The church originated in 326 AD with its many beautiful marble columns. Paros was famous for its marble—the Venus deMilo is made from it.

The archeological museum had some beautiful finds from Paros. One, a 6th C. BCE Gorgon and another, a 5th C. BCE Nike were very interesting. On the way back to my hostel, I visited an ancient cemetery, used from the 7th C. BCE. Everything here is so old!!

I took a dip in the Sea under perfect conditions. I could walk the half-block to the beach and jump in! The wind was gone and the water so clean and fresh!

Again I ate at the same restaurant, having roast lamb and eggplant salad along with local wine, all the while viewing the beautiful Mediterranean. What a lovely quiet, peaceful setting.

The island bus took me to Nousa the next morning. As I was waiting for it, I photographed the old windmill, which is the first thing that greets you when you come off the ferry. Once on the bus, I noted that modern windmills now crest the hills in the interior of Paros.

The bus dropped us at the Nousa Harbor, which is still active in the fishing industry. Several fishermen were mending their nets, presumably having returned from commercial fishing.

I bought a ticket to take me out in the Sea to visit a monastery. As it turned out, the monastery was closed, and so it was a bit of a wild goose chase, but who can call it that when there is bright sunshine illuminating the clear, blue water with perfect weather? The monastery made a beautiful picture, if nothing else!

Back in town I spent a little time at the main square, which was pretty and busy. Then I caught a bus back to Perikia, across the island of Peros.

Tomorrow I shall move on to Naxos.

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